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The 17th at Sawgrass
In my writings recently, I've inferred that the tour professionals are maybe not quite as good as we are led to believe, at least from the shorter ranges. Granted, you see them hit lots of shots that just cover the flags, but remember that the television broadcast is very selective. They get to scan the video of every shot hit in an event and sort them to show you the best ones. The only mediocre-to-poor shots that you get to see are the ones hit by the leaders in the final holes.

I offer as Exhibit #1 the shot that Rory McIlroy hit on #7 at Augusta a few weeks ago. He was dead center of the fairway, 121 yards from the hole and yanked it 45-50 feet long and left, into a greenside bunker that shouldn't have even been in play for that hole location. He made bogey and fell further down the leaderboard on a hole that should have yielded a good birdie putt at least.

That happened because Rory apparently doesn't have that shot. It was a "bad number" for him, as they say too often. In examination, you'll see that he carries a pitching wedge that goes 135-140 and a 54* wedge that goes 105-110. He genuinely doesn't have that 121 club. And that just amazes me.

Exhibit #2 is one you can watch the next few days. The 17th at Sawgrass has been notorious for years. Diabolical. Stunningly difficult. Why? It's 135 yards, for Petes' sake? A golfer making his living on the PGA Tour should be able to hit a shot into the middle of that green 99% of the time at worst. Shouldn't he?

But the stats show something entirely different. Tracking all 4,363, shots from 2003 until last year show that a full 11% have been dunked. More than one out of ten. You've got to be kidding, right? This is tracking all shots, over all four days. And for four years — 2005-2008 — the percentages were 15%, 13%, 21% and 15%. That blew me away. It's a pitching wedge or soft 9-iron shot. For the best players in the world at the time. And they dunk as many as one out of five into the pond?

Tiny target you say? Of course it is. It's supposed to test the best players in the world. But at 3,900 square feet, it's roughly a 70-foot circle. If you aim at the dead center of the green, you have to hit it more than 35 feet off line, short or long to miss it. My bet is that most of the shots are missed short and right.

So, have fun watching these guys then think about how you might fare on that hole. How many out of ten do you think you could hit somewhere on the green? From 135 it should be a pretty good number.

I'm hoping this one lights you guys up a bit. Let me know what you think about this opinion, and what topics more related to helping you score you'd like to see me address in the coming weeks.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
Ian 666 says:
That happened because Rory apparently doesn't have that shot. It was a "bad number" for him, as they say too often. In examination, you'll see that he carries a pitching wedge that goes 135-140 and a 54* wedge that goes 105-110. He genuinely doesn't have that 121 club

What degree would his pitching wedge be ? My 2012 Mizuno's have a pitch at 46* and a gap at 50* leaving me with little option but to play a sand at 54* and a lob at 58*
5/10/13
 
Hari Soebagio says:
@Ian 666:
Looking at the specification given by Nike, VR Pro blades PW is at 47*
5/11/13
 
ally1957 says:
sometimes its just THE water, for some including me its just a water magnet my weak spot 50 60yds over water wight as well just throw it in the water and save the energy
5/18/13
 
Cider Shyr says:
I don't understand the problem, When I played 17 it was about 120 yards, front pin. I dropped it about 10 feet right and rolled in the putt for the bird. Water is just liquid grass, see past it.
6/24/13
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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